Suddenly I knew what it was; the blotch was a bizarre skin condition I’d given to one of my characters; the protagonist in fact, in a novel I had long since consigned to the dusty shelf.
I had to know! So out came the ladder and I scurried up the rungs to the attic; that repository of old discarded writings. Black Rook; the ghastly Berne Black, what a horrid little git he was…and flip, flick, flip, what did he suffer from? Leucism – that’s what. But in order to get as far as the word I sought I had to read quite a few chapters and I was soon hooked. Why had I so casually left this novel to the spiders that gaily skitter from beam to beam in my attic – in fact, a fat hairy chap was sitting on the manuscript wiggling his legs when I found it.
Ah, yes, someone had dissed Black Rook; right royally in fact. ’Nasty’ the person had said. ‘It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea and made my flesh crawl’. But I must be a strange individual (after all I wrote it) and now I was reading it afresh and I was enjoying reacquainting myself with the collection of characters; their off-key personalities and the way the stories all intersected. I remembered I had to construct a complicated time-line to make sure each tale reached the correct cross-over point; I’d forgotten all that – it was 2008 and a lot has happened since then.
I told a friend about the splodge and Black Rook and she said: “I remember that book. The one with the boy who likes to kill things; the stupid mafia men, the Russian cellist and the diamonds.” Blimey I thought, I couldn’t remember that much before I read it – it must be the wine.
So when I’ve finished writing the latest book (The Parson Street Nose, my column brought to life) I’m going back to Black Rook.